Francis FOX

FOX, The Hon. Francis, P.C., Q.C., B.A., LL.L., D.E.S., LL.M., M.A.

Personal Data

Party
Liberal
Constituency
Blainville--Deux-Montagnes (Quebec)
Birth Date
December 2, 1939
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Fox
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=8c88b631-34e1-4a75-a603-833894d455c1&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
executive, lawyer

Parliamentary Career

October 30, 1972 - May 9, 1974
LIB
  Argenteuil--Deux-Montagnes (Quebec)
July 8, 1974 - March 26, 1979
LIB
  Argenteuil--Deux-Montagnes (Quebec)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada (October 10, 1975 - September 13, 1976)
  • Solicitor General of Canada (September 14, 1976 - January 27, 1978)
May 22, 1979 - December 14, 1979
LIB
  Blainville--Deux-Montagnes (Quebec)
February 18, 1980 - July 9, 1984
LIB
  Blainville--Deux-Montagnes (Quebec)
  • Minister of Communications (March 3, 1980 - June 29, 1984)
  • Secretary of State of Canada (March 3, 1980 - September 21, 1981)
  • Minister for International Trade (June 30, 1984 - September 16, 1984)
August 29, 2005 - July 9, 1984
LIB
  Blainville--Deux-Montagnes (Quebec)
  • Minister for International Trade (June 30, 1984 - September 16, 1984)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 303 of 306)


December 17, 1974

Mr. Fox:

It seems that members are leaving the House right now, which reduces the possibility for us of having a quorum.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS
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October 17, 1974

Mr. Fox:

I hear the hon. member say that he will never accept such an appointment. I suggest that it is because this would hurt his true democratic convictions which are held in high esteem by all hon. members.

While listening to him, Mr. Speaker, I suddenly remembered this saying by John Stewart Mills:

On all great subjects much remains to be said.

I do not know, Mr. Speaker, if this saying applies to the matter considered here and which has been studied several times during private members' business period in previous sessions. But the Senate is part of our political institutions and as such deserves to be considered by all those concerned with the continuous betterment of the Canadian democratic process.

The question of the Senate does not trigger any passionate controversy outside the House. I would even suggest that very few Canadians in a whole year care to listen to the debates of the Senate, even if quite relevant questions are sometimes discussed there. "Prologues Without a Play", said Walter Bagehot in his classic on the English constitution, referring to debates of some legislative bodies.

Mr. Speaker, I do not want my remarks to lead to confusion. I recognize wholeheartedly the presence in the Senate of distinguished Canadians. There are men and women who worked in all public and private sectors in Canada, men and women still making valuable contribution to community life in Canada. But their distinction is quite independent of their role as senators. Their contribution to the community precedes their appointment as senators.

Mr. Speaker, although the Senate once played a real part in Canada, serious doubt exists whether it still does today.

In a democracy, power should be exercised by representatives of the people. Such is the case in Canada today. Every time however we vote a piece of legislation in this House, the Senate goes through the unbelievable masquerade of going over it.

Some members may stress the usefulness of Senate investigating committees, and refer to a series of reports some of which were mentioned by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles). Those are highly interesting papers stemming from investigations.

That, however, is no sufficient reason for keeping an institution, if it has served its purpose. A series of ways could be devised whereby such investigations could be completed.

But let us go back to sources for a moment. The Special Joint Committee of the Senate and of the House of Commons on the Constitution of Canada, known as the Mol-gat-MacGuigan Commission, threw light upon this matter in its final report of 1972. I quote an extract from page 33 of the report:

The Confederation Debates of 1865 prove that there would have been no Confederation in 1867, or at least no Canada as we know it today, if provision had not been made for the Senate. The Maritimes and Quebec were not prepared to join the union if there was to be only one elected House, based on population. Canada would be a federation, and not a unitary state. Consequently, if the Lower House were based on representation by population, there must be an Upper House giving equality to the regions.

Mr. Speaker, who could maintain that such a context remains relevant? The inhabitants of a province have their federal representative in this House and the position of provincial governments has gained so much strength over the years that it would be ridiculous to pretend that the population of a region relies upon its senators for its protection rather than upon its provincial government or its federal representatives.

The Committee on Constitution came to the conclusion, however, that it is necessary to reform the Senate rather than to abolish it.

I fully agree, to quote Lord Morrison of Lambeth, that if the choice is end them or mend them, we ought to end them. If we look to the mother of parliaments in Westminster, we see that the powers of the House of Lords have been severely curtailed.

I do not need to be reminded by members of the Senate of the other useful work they may do. I, too, have read the Canadian literature on the subject and have had the pleasure of seeing the Senate in operation. It seems clear there ought to be clearly established limits on their powers at the very least. On the whole, however, I believe the Senate ought to disappear for either it is a chamber, to paraphrase some of the wording of Sir John A. Macdonald in confederation debates, for registering the decrees of the Commons and therefore of no value, or an independent House having free action of its own, opposing, amending or postponing legislation and therefore, in my mind, an antithesis of democratic rule.

I like to think that some evolution has taken place since 1867. While the Senate as an institution may have been essential to our nationhood, this position can no longer be sustained in argument. The people of Canada are represented here by their elected members of parliament. The electoral process itself has been the object of improvements, particularly in the twenty-ninth parliament when

British North America Act

a far reaching election expenses bill was passed. This will enable Canadians from all walks of life to run for parliament without incurring a crushing financial burden. Nor should the Senate be considered a secure haven for retired politicians.

Members of parliament who have served this country well should be adequately compensated during their tenure and should be entitled, on an equal footing for all, not to the advantage of the ruling party through Senate appointments, to adequate pensions. As for other distinguished Canadians, there are other ways of recognizing their contribution to the development and well-being of our country.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I wish to say that the role of the Senate as a political institution of this country ought to be decided upon in the only manner fully consistent with the existence of parliamentary democracy.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS
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October 17, 1974

Mr. Francis Fox (Argenteuil-Deux-Montagnes):

Mr. Speaker, I have listened most attentively to the argument put forward by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) concerning this matter which was brought on many occasions to the attention of the House by the hon. member who certainly pleaded his case with considerable eloquence. This being said, Mr. Speaker, I am sometimes under the impression that the only way the hon. member could have his dream-which may have reached the stage of a darling dream-come true would be for him to accept at one time or another an appointment to the Senate, in order better to convince his new colleagues of the necessity to put an end to their own institution.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS
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April 19, 1974

Mr. Francis Fox (Argenteuil-Deux-Montagnes):

Mr. Speaker, I followed with much interest the speeches delivered this afternoon in the course of this debate. Personally, I am against advertising aimed at children. I also listened with considerable interest to the statistics given by the hon. member for St. John's East (Mr. McGrath) with regard to Gallup polls. I have also had the opportunity of conducting my own miniature Gallup poll in my riding through a parliamentary report, and my statistics are even more eloquent than those we have heard. Out of 1,500 replies from my constituents, almost 99 per cent were opposed to that type of advertising.

I feel the proposal ot the hon. member for Lachine-Lakeshore (Mr. Blaker) made on behalf of CRTC shows real progress. However, I must say that this is not quite enough. I would be willing to agree to the withdrawal of the bill, but I feel we should go further. In my opinion, the conditions for the renewal of the licence recently granted to the CBC by the CRTC required that the CBC discontinue all advertising meant for children at the end of 1974. I really think that we should follow such direction.

As a temporary solution, I am ready to agree that the CRTC should closely administer the voluntary code already mentioned by the hon. member for St. John's East but I do not intend to give you again an historical account of the debate as the hon. member did.

In short, this is not only a problem of advertising for children but is also related to the production of children's programs. But there are other means to ensure the production of first-rate programs. I know that all members are aware of that problem and that it is a problem which is of concern to us all. The fact remains that with its own resources the CBC can produce first-rate children's programs. We also have in Canada the National Film Board as well as the Canadian Film Development Corporation. It might be time that the latter, which has already done a lot for film development in Canada, paid more attention to the development of good TV programs for children.

Moreover, provincial Departments of Education, like some educational TV organizations in the U.S., should allocate more funds for the development of quality children's programs.

Mr. Speaker, I think in principle that we should see to it in the future to prohibit all advertising directed at children under 13, as suggested in the bill put forward by the hon. member. As a temporary measure, it might be possible to instruct the CRTC to carefully review the present system with a view to abolishing eventually all advertising, while asking other concerned organizations that come under the jurisdiction of the Parliament of Canada to allocate a larger share of their financial resources for the development of children's programs of high quality.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS
Subtopic:   BROADCASTING ACT
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November 28, 1973

Mr. Francis Fox (Argenteuil-Deux-Montagnes):

Mr. Speaker, I absolutely want to participate in this debate because of all the practical impacts which the motions of the hon. member for St. Paul's (Mr. Atkey) and of the Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Lalonde) might have on the administration of justice and on detection and prevention of crime.

The bill we are dealing with today is naturally very important in many aspects and first because in our society, as demonstrated by recent events, no-one is safe from

wiretapping. The bill clearly states by whom and under what circumstances wiretapping is possible. It is also important because it is an admission that at an age when crime has no frontiers and enjoys all technical facilities, it is essential that we allow to those whose foremost mission is to prevent crime and protect society the use of devices that will enable them to discharge their responsibilities efficiently and legally. Finally, this bill is important because it is an attempt to determine what has always been a problem in the field of criminal legislation-fair balance between the right of the individual not to have his privacy violated without justification and his right to be protected as he should be while not allowing crime to remain unpunished or allowing criminals to benefit from their destructive actions with impunity.

I would like to enlarge on this last aspect and speak on the amendment from the standpoint of admissibility or inadmissibility of illegally obtained evidence. Tradition-nally our criminal law, derived in this connection from the British rules on evidence, recognized that evidence obtained illegally were not admissible for this reason alone, that the role of a court was to ferret out the truth, shed as much light as possible on truth so as to come to a conclusion with a full knowledge of the facts. In Canada, that has been the stand taken by the Supreme Court.

On the contrary, American jurisprudence puts forward the rule whereby evidence obtained by unlawful means is inadmissible. Such a rule, known as the rule of exclusion, was approved mainly because it was looked upon as a reliable deterrent against the use of unlawful means on the part of police forces: to recognize the admissibility of unlawfully obtained evidence is, in a way, to support a breach of the law by people who should be the first to have respect for it. That is what the American Supreme Court stated in the case Mapp v. Ohio, in 1961.

That American position, even though sternly criticized throughout the years, remained the same. I very humbly point out, Mr. Speaker, that the mistake here is precisely the wish to correct a situation that is deplorable, I admit it, by changing some rules concerning evidence. This bill already provides a penalty for the unlawful use of bugging devices, namely imprisonment or a $5,000 fine. There will never be any effective penalty against that offence. The Americans excluded the evidence, but the outcome was not the one they hoped for: to prevent unlawful evidence from being actually obtained. People acting in such a way should be punished. To have the underworld benefit from it, as was suggested by several members of the Progressive Conservative party, and which was indeed experienced by the Americans, is not a desirable thing, Mr. Speaker.

It was precisely in order to correct such a situation that the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lang) moved an amendment allowing the judge to decide, considering all circumstances, whether unlawfully obtained evidence should nevertheless be admissible. For it must be recognized, the fact that evidence can be considered illegal can be the result of a simple technical error, and moreover, that is what the hon. member for St. Paul's has finally admitted last night.

The opposite would penalize society and put the courts in an extremely difficult position, in the case where, for example, a serious crime has been committed, the only

November 28, 1973

available evidence, the interception of communication, would be inadmissible. What really matters, Mr. Speaker, is to throw the light on a case, to find the truth about what happened and to determine who is innocent and who is guilty. If a situation were created such that this prime duty of justice is impeded by various technicalities enabling a criminal to go scot-free, then justice would be unable to play its role.

With regard to electronic eavesdropping, I recognize that, in the past, too often it was practised without any restriction whatever and that, as a rule, to be accepted as proof, any communication should have been intercepted legally. The act states specifically in which circumstances electronic eavesdropping is allowed, and it is imperative that policemen respect the act. I would therefore ask all my colleagues to avoid creating a situation that would favour the criminals, as is the case in the U.S.A.

For all those reasons, Mr. Speaker, I believe it is imperative not to adopt the American rule whereby proofs obtained illegally are excluded but rather to allow the court, as suggested by the Minister of Justice, to decide on its admissibility because it is pertinent and thus allow justice to be done.

The Minister of Justice quoted a decision made by the distinguished Justice Cordozo about forty years ago. I believe that this quote should be repeated since it shows clearly what would be the result of passing even part of the exclusion rule implemented in the United States. Justice Cordozo said about this case:

The criminal is to go free because the constable has blundered. ... A room is searched against the law, and the body of a murdered man is found. . . . The privacy of the home has been infringed, and the murderer goes free.

[ Translation]

The solution to the problem of illegal wiretapping should not benefit the criminal. The sanction should concern the person guilty of illegal wiretapping. This approach of the government is consistent with our traditions and we should maintain it because of the significant protection which this bill gives the citizens by defining specific conditions for wiretapping.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   PROTECTION OF PRIVACY BILL
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